“There’s no way around it; smoking is bad for your health. It harms nearly every organ of the body, some that you would not expect. It can also cause many cancers including lung and oral cancers; and other ailments like lung diseases, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); damage to and thickening of blood vessels, which causes high blood pressure, blood clots, and stroke; vision problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration (AMD),” said Dr Samir Garde, consultant, dept of respiratory medicine and pulmonology, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai.
He added that women who smoke while pregnant have a greater chance of certain pregnancy problems. “Their babies are also at higher risk of dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking also causes addiction to nicotine, a stimulant drug that is in tobacco. Nicotine addiction makes it much harder for people to quit smoking,” he told indianexpress.com.
What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
Your smoke is also bad for other people. They breathe in your smoke secondhand and can get many of the same problems as smokers do. These include heart disease and lung cancer. “Children exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Mothers who breathe secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have preterm labor and babies with low birth weight,” he shared.
As such, on World No Tobacco Day, she shared some immediate positive effects of quitting tobacco. Check them out below:
Broken addiction cycle: Quitting smoking can re-wire your brain and help break the cycle of addiction. The large number of nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels after about a month of being quit.
Head and face
Sharp hearing: Quitting smoking will keep your hearing sharp. Remember, even mild hearing loss can cause problems (like not hearing directions correctly and doing a task wrong).
Quitting smoking will improve your night vision and help preserve your overall vision by stopping the damage that smoking does to your eyes.
Nobody likes a dirty mouth. After a few days without cigarettes, your smile will be brighter. Not smoking will keep your mouth healthy for years to come.
Quitting smoking is better than anti-aging lotion. Quitting can help clear up blemishes and protect your skin from premature aging and wrinkling.
Decreased heart risks: Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease. But many of these heart risks can be reversed simply by quitting smoking. Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours.
Another effect of quitting smoking is that your blood will become thinner and less likely to form dangerous blood clots. Your heart will also have less work to do because it will be able to move the blood around your body more easily.
Quitting smoking will not get rid of the fatty deposits that are already there. But it will lower the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help to slow the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.
Stop lung damage: Scarring of the lungs is not reversible. That is why it is important to quit smoking before you do permanent damage to your lungs. Within two weeks of quitting, you might notice it’s easier to walk up the stairs because you may be less short of breath. Don’t wait until later; quit today!
There is no cure for emphysema. But quitting when you are young before you have done years of damage to the delicate air sacs in your lungs, will help protect you from developing emphysema later.
Return of cilia
Cilia start to regrow and regain normal function very quickly after you quit smoking. They are one of the first things in your body to heal. People sometimes notice that they cough more than usual when they first quit smoking. This is a sign that the cilia are coming back to life. But you’re more likely to fight off colds and infections when your cilia are working properly.
Lower cancer risk: Quitting smoking will prevent new DNA damage from happening and can even help repair the damage that has already been done. Quitting smoking immediately is the best way to lower your risk of getting cancer.
Stomach and hormones
Smaller belly: Quitting smoking will reduce your belly fat and lower your risk of diabetes. If you already have diabetes, quitting can help you keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Normal estrogen levels: If you’re a woman, your estrogen levels will gradually return to normal after you quit smoking. And if you hope to have children someday, quitting smoking right now will increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy in the future.
Sexual healing: If you quit smoking now, you can lower your chances of erectile dysfunction and improve your chances of having a healthy sexual life.
Blood and the Immune System
Normal white blood cell count: When you quit smoking, your body will begin to heal from the injuries that smoking caused. Eventually, your white blood cell counts will return to normal and will no longer be on the defensive.
Quitting smoking will improve blood flow to wounds, allowing important nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to reach the wound and help it heal properly.
Stronger immune system
When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer exposed to tar and nicotine. It will become stronger, and you will be less likely to get sick; which matters while battling myriad infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Muscles and Bones
Strong muscles: Quitting smoking will help increase the availability of oxygen in your blood, and your muscles will become stronger and healthier.
Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of fractures, both now and later in life. Keep your bones strong and healthy by quitting now.